Introduction to Economic Analysis
Preston McAfee, Caltech
Tracy R Lewis, Duke University
Copyright Year: 2009
ISBN 13: 9780982043097
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
Unless I am missing it because the file I downloaded is incomplete, there is no index or glossary, nor is there a table of contents. The comprehensiveness of the material itself in terms of topics covered is quite good - better, in fact, than many... read more
Unless I am missing it because the file I downloaded is incomplete, there is no index or glossary, nor is there a table of contents. The comprehensiveness of the material itself in terms of topics covered is quite good - better, in fact, than many other intermediate textbooks. However, the depth of coverage of many of the topics is not as good as other textbooks.
There are few obvious errors in the text.
There are few enough specifics that can go out of date quickly, but there are too few concrete examples as a result.
The text is clearly written and accessible.
Not only internally consistent, but students who have taken an introductory course using any standard text would find it easy to access the material in this textbook.
Chapters are broken down into manageable parts that would allow students to read effectively in shorter doses rather than sit and read through a longer chapter at a time, something many students cannot do with great retention.
Most intermediate micro texts take consumer theory before producer theory so that after developing the latter, the book can seamlessly transition to market structures other than perfectly competitive. This book flips consumer and producer theory, and I don't think that works. There are other choices of organizational structure I found odd, but I admit it could be due to overexposure to standard treatment in other textbooks.
I cannot be sure that the problems I have reading the equations throughout are not due to my own computer/interface, but I found the equations in particular difficult to read clearly.
The book is largely free of grammatical errors.
Largely non-gendered, non-culture specific with the obvious exceptions like the chapter on the US economy.
For an open source textbook, the several hundred dollar savings to students more than outweighs its shortcomings.
There are two margins for comprehensiveness that need to be considered: the number of concepts and the depth of any particular concept. The text covers most of the main topics covered in an intermediate microeconomic theory course and some... read more
There are two margins for comprehensiveness that need to be considered: the number of concepts and the depth of any particular concept.
The text covers most of the main topics covered in an intermediate microeconomic theory course and some additional chapters which can be covered at the discretion of the instructor. There was one, noticeable oversight for me, the text does leave out cross-price and income elasticity. There are likely places where the text does not cover a topic that an instructor feels is important.
Relative to a standard textbook, this book has fewer graphs to illustrate concepts, a quicker explanation of math, and shorter chapters. There are no specific mathematical examples to help guide students. Students who do not have much experience with applying math to economics will likely be lost.
The accuracy of the material is high. However, there are places where the authors define profit in a way which is actually producer surplus to most economists. There are likely other places that will stand out to any particular instructor.
Occasionally, the text will use examples that seem 10 to 20 years old like “camcorders.”
Some of the time series data ends in by 2010, some in the year 2000.
Often, the language is informal and conversational. This is a good feature.
However, the introduction of the math is high-level. The math will potentially alienate students who take the course who are less comfortable with calculus. The math in the chapters is limited to general forms. This will lead to problems for students who need more concrete examples when being introduced to a concept.
The book is consistent in the style of presentation and in the use of terminology and concepts.
Each chapter is relatively self-contained. Instructors should be able to choose which concepts fit their course with ease. Additionally, each chapter is subdivided, and instructors could choose from within a chapter as well.
Overall the organization is clear and logical. Students are given Key Takeaways that summarize the information in a chapter. These work well. Students are also given Exercises to practice the concepts, however there are no solutions. Some Exercises are introduced before the material required to answer the question is introduced. For instance, students are asked to draw an Edgeworth box in CH 6 when the concept is not covered until CH 14.
Critically, there are many places where the math does not seem to display properly. There are other formatting issues like “Unexpected text node: ‘.” Firefox was able to display the math correctly, while Google Chrome and Internet Explorer were not. The issue is also present in the PDF version. Instructors will need to ensure that students are able to access the textbook in a way that does not have these formatting issues.
Graphs have no color. While this is helpful for students who wish to print out the text, it does miss the opportunities that color coding can provide.
Occasionally, there seems to be a formatting error that combines words. It is not terribly difficult to figure out. The most problematic instance is when “a positive” becomes “apositive” which makes the ‘a’ seem like a prefix for positive.
Much of economics is separate from discussions of culture. The text is fairly standard in its approach and focuses on typical examples and markets that will be familiar to other texts.
The text varies between intuitive discussions of real-world markets and deep mathematics. The intuitive portions of the text will be something that students at the intermediate level will be able to understand easily. The authors cover many different, relevant topics in this style.
However, things become much more difficult when the text introduces math. The math is quickly introduced in its most general forms. This will prove difficult for students who have not applied calculus to economics before. I believe only the students who are extremely comfortable with calculus will be able to read the text and follow the math.
Additionally, there seems to be a formatting error when the math is displayed. Students and instructors will need to test several browsers to see which one accurately displays the equations. For my experience, Firefox was able to display the math correctly, while Google Chrome and Internet Explorer were not.
The book covers all the necessary topics, starting from a series of introductory and overview chapters, to fundamental consumer and producer theories, to game theory and its applications and beyond. read more
The book covers all the necessary topics, starting from a series of introductory and overview chapters, to fundamental consumer and producer theories, to game theory and its applications and beyond.
The book is quite concise and covers all the standard topics.
Since the book covers all the core topics of intermediate microeconomics, it should not be obsolete for a while.
The text is quite concise, complemented by end-of-section summaries.
The book is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
Each chapter in the book is relatively short and can be covered in a 1.5-hour class period.
The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion.
The equations in the textbook can be better typeset, for example, the equations associated with elasticities can be improved.
The text has been tested and tried, is free of errors.
The text, as most economics texts, uses dispassionate language.
The first review of the book was off in my opinion, because the reviewer thought this book was about econometrics but in fact it has nothing to do with econometrics.
The title of this book is misleading. It is a book about economics and economic theory, but not about economic analyses, or econometrics. My rating on comprehensiveness is referring directly to the lack of applied econometric and economic... read more
The title of this book is misleading. It is a book about economics and economic theory, but not about economic analyses, or econometrics. My rating on comprehensiveness is referring directly to the lack of applied econometric and economic analysis material as you would find in a text as by Stock and Watson, or Angrist, et al
I cannot assess the accuracy because I expected it to be a book regarding economic analysis and econometrics. It is not.
The text appears to be clearly laid out and easily updatable
The clarity and ease of reading is fairly direct.
The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
Yes, there do not appear to be any navigational issues
I did not read every part of the text, but the sections that I did review did not appear to have grammatical errors.
I did not find any outstanding examples of cultural relevance
I was excited at the idea of an on-line free economic analysis book/ econometrics book that would be accessible to students and general audiences alike. This text has a significant amount of value in its content. However, the title should be changed to be more relevant
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: What Is Economics?
- Chapter 2: Supply and Demand
- Chapter 3: Quantification
- Chapter 4: The U.S. Economy
- Chapter 5: Government Interventions
- Chapter 6: Trade
- Chapter 7: Externalities
- Chapter 8: Public Goods
- Chapter 9: Producer Theory: Costs
- Chapter 10: Producer Theory: Dynamics
- Chapter 11: Investment
- Chapter 12: Consumer Theory
- Chapter 13: Applied Consumer Theory
- Chapter 14: General Equilibrium
- Chapter 15: Monopoly
- Chapter 16: Games and Strategic Behavior
- Chapter 17: Imperfect Competition
- Chapter 18: Information
- Chapter 19: Agency Theory
- Chapter 20: Auctions
- Chapter 21: Antitrust
About the Book
This book presents standard intermediate microeconomics material and some material that, in the authors' view, ought to be standard but is not. Introductory economics material is integrated. Standard mathematical tools, including calculus, are used throughout. The book easily serves as an intermediate microeconomics text, and can be used for a relatively sophisticated undergraduate who has not taken a basic university course in economics.
The focus of this book is on the conceptual tools and not on fluff. As such, it reflects the approach actually adopted by the majority of economists for understanding economic activity. There are lots of models and equations, and no pictures of economists ;-)
Economic analysis is used in many situations. When British Petroleum sets the price for Alaskan crude oil, it uses an estimated demand model, both for gasoline consumers and also for the refineries to which BP sells. Economic analysis was used by experts in the antitrust suit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice both to understand Microsoft's incentive to foreclose (eliminate from the market) rival Netscape and consumer behavior in the face of alleged foreclosure. Stock market analysts use economic models to forecast the profits of companies to predict the price of their stocks. When the government forecasts the budget deficit or considers a change in environmental regulations, it uses economic models. This book presents the building blocks of the models in common use by an army of economists thousands of times per day.
This book, plus econometrics, provides most of the economic analysis tools to take upper division economics courses of any type.
About the Contributors
R. Preston McAfee received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Florida, and master of science in mathematics and a Ph.D in economics from Purdue University. McAfee is the J. Stanley Johnson Professor of Business, Economics & Management at Caltech. He is on leave as Vice-President and Research Fellow at Yahoo!, where he heads an economic research team.
The author of many academic papers on auctions, McAfee was one of the designers of the Federal Communication Commission’s first auction of radio spectrum rights for cellular phones. Over $100 billion worth of airwaves and other items have been sold this auction design. He has run auctions in Mexico and advised several governments on auction use.
McAfee served as an economic expert in a variety of antitrust cases, including Exxon-Mobil, BP-Arco, Lockheed Martin-Northrop Grumman, and Peoplesoft-Oracle. He also testified in the U.S. versus Rambus, and has testified before three U.S. Senate committees on antitrust enforcement and gasoline pricing.
Tracy R. Lewis is the Martin L. Black Professor of Business Administration at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and Director of the Duke University Innovation Center.
Other positions held by Dr. Lewis include the following: James Walter Eminent Scholar in Economics, University of Florida; Associate Director of Energy Studies, Public Utilities Research Center; Director, Program on Workable Energy Regulation (POWER); Professor of Economics, University of California, Davis; Professor of Economics, University of British Columbia; Assistant Director, Program in Natural Resource Economics; Visiting Associate Professor of Economics, California Institute of Technology; Associate Professor of Economics, University of British Columbia; Brookings Fellow, Washington, DC; Visiting Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia; Assistant Professor, University of Arizona.
In addition to the roles above, Dr. Lewis has served as Economic Advisor for the National Research Council, Academy of Sciences. He has been a consultant to numerous organizations including the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the World Bank Project on Abatement of Greenhouse Gases, Florida Power and Light Company, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Energy, the Rand Corporation, and many others.
Dr. Lewis has published two books, numerous articles, and has served as editor on a wide range of journals including: the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, the B. E. journals in industrial organization, and Review of Network Economics—to name a few. He has been awarded over 15 grants, fellowships, and awards.
Tracy earned his B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego.